OPINIONPeople Daily

Mortal danger of gambling now devolved to villages

On the face of impunity, there is a common self-defeating refrain used by Kenyans and one that just drives me up the wall; ‘Wakenya sijui nani alituroga’ – meaning who bewitched us Kenyans?

The challenges facing us being beyond our control is not a thought we should entertain. Because we agree to look the other way on the face of adversity, one mentality which will continue defining us is impunity.

We must emancipate our minds from this self-defeating mentality and start interrogating where the problem lies. And don’t we love impunity? Despite being a nation of hard working people, the ease with which we gobble up wretchedness will be our undoing if left unchecked.

These days, being cool is about cultivating an aura that reveals your ‘badness’ and this is the mentality driving operations. The ease with which hawkers easily took over the streets of Nairobi, selling wares on huge wooden pallets, is just a tip of the iceberg about our ability to ride roughshod over order.

This is done outside licensed shops selling the same wares, right under the watching eye of County administrators, yet that is fine with us. This is not to say that such behaviour is the preserve of hawkers.

All sectors have attributes akin to those of hawkers. But what really makes it easier for such impunity to roll without giving a hoot is the ease with which they can escape the supposedly long arm of the law and hit the streets the following day, like nothing happened.

Could it be that we planned to fail a long time ago so that we could allow the perpetuation of impunity as a way of life? Another thing we love is complaining without following up on action.

Take our love for complaining and reporting about the bumper-to-bumper traffic jams in Nairobi and other major towns. Despite having grabbed all public land and road reserves, we still complain about traffic jams, even within estates where bus stops meant for two saloon cars are now supposed to accommodate 30 minibuses every morning during the rush hours.

Kenyans must interrogate what kind of future the next generation will inherit because we are now auctioning their future as casinos and gambling take charge. These are real fears that this nation must confront and have some vices neutralised otherwise the repercussions could be worse than the al Shabaab threat.

This is because Kenyans at their prime have taken to betting as a full time job, threatening the very foundation of development. Thoughts of instant riches and grandeur are driving energetic youth to sleep, eat, talk and dream Bingo!

If it were up to me, and knowing we are wasting the youth and their future, I would relook betting in this country and deepen education against this game of chances. The current officers are overwhelmed and not able to handle the exploding industry which has infiltrated even the villages.

Yes, I was shocked to note that even in the villages, the cafes where people used to take tea have been turned into gambling dens with miniature casinos rented out to milk the coins from villagers. If that isn’t bad enough, they even allow small kids to those addictive gallows of poverty, threatening their future.

Children sneak out of school to play these jukeboxes shaped games, hoping to make easy money. Before we wait for the answer about who bewitched Kenyans, let’s put our house in order. The writer is a reporter and sub-editor with People Daily

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